It was the fifth time the crosstown rivals met this season. The Chargers held the Falcons to two points in the third quarter in a 56-55 win.

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TACOMA — Tresai McCarver went ahead and said at halftime what her Kentridge teammates were thinking — play man-press.

The seventh-seeded Chargers were down 14 points at the break to the Class 4A girls tournament’s top seed in Kentridge’s first quarterfinal game in program history. Strip that away and it’s simply the fifth meeting of the season between Kentlake and Kentridge, this time at the Tacoma Dome.

And the Chargers know the Falcons — so well McCar­ver only needed to voice that a switch to playing player-on-player pressure defense would get Kentridge out of its scoring deficit and possibly win.

It did. Kentridge held its crosstown rival to two points in the third quarter, igniting an offensive surge of its own to upset Kentlake 55-44 on Thursday. The Chargers (24-5) advance to the school’s first state girls semifinal, playing sixth-seeded Bellarmine Prep at 7:15 p.m. on Friday.

Bellarmine (25-2) advanced after upsetting defending state champ Central Valley of Spokane 56-55, ending the Bears’ 52-game winning streak.

“We haven’t man-pressed much all year long, so I didn’t know,” said Kentridge coach Bob Sandall of his reaction to McCarver’s halftime adjustment. “It was totally their will and their effort to want to gut-up and play a lot tougher, more up-tempo. … You have to defer to your kids sometimes.”

The Chargers did surprise themselves at how well the adjustment worked. Junior guard Morgan Gary drained two three-pointers and freshman post Jordyn Jenkins muscled in buckets under the hoop to capitalize on the defensive stops.

Jenkins’ short turnaround jumper with 25 seconds left in the quarter tied the score at 29. She finished with 20 points and seven rebounds in the game.

“We were getting hyped as it was working, but I was also really nervous,” said Gary, who finished with 17 points. “This is our first time getting here. We’re making history as Kentridge girls, so I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, we could actually win.’ ”

Kentlake scored its only points of the third quarter off a pair of foul shots by junior Aniston Denckla with two seconds left. The Falcons (23-5) didn’t trail until a layin by Gary with 3:48 left in the game (40-39).

Kentlake shot 17.4 percent from the field in the second half overall and was outscored 40-15.

“It was a bit of a nightmare,” said Kentlake senior Gabby Bruno of the third quarter. “Coming into it (the tournament), I had a feeling this was our time. It was hard just seeing that clock go down and seeing the score. We tried to focus as much as we could on what we could control.”

Bruno led the Falcons with 12 points. Kentlake plays Central Valley (24-1) in a consolation-round game Friday at 12:15 p.m. The winner plays for fourth place Saturday morning.

For Kentridge, the familiarity continues in the semifinals. It defeated Bellarmine Prep by one point in December and lost 54-43 in February.

“This is like, wow,” Gary said.